There’s a wide marketplace of products out there advertised to combat your acne. Wading through the pool of information, advertisements, and advice from well-meaning friends can leave you utterly confused. The first thing you can do is stick with gentle plant-based options which won’t strip, burn, or disrupt your skin’s natural healing mechanisms. Next, figure out what works best for your unique skin type. This means experimenting with different combinations of plant based ingredients, and combining active fruit acids and plant astringents with cleansing essential oils and soothing hydrosols.
One ultra popular plant based acne buster that you’ll want to try incorporating into your regime is Witch Hazel, which has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to soothe and cleanse the skin. Typically a main ingredient in toner formulas, with hazel is having a serious comeback – and we’re diving into it today!Where Witch Hazel Comes From
Witch hazel is a compound derived from the leaves and bark of the of Hamamelis virginiana, a type of shrub that’s native to North America. With its rich yellow-orange flowers and glossy leaves, witch hazel plants have been harvested for centuries and used for their medicinal properties for treating wounds and healing infection. These plants have a variety of health and skin benefits (such as witch hazel for acne and inflammation), and can be added to existing formulas to amp up the cleansing and toning properties.Witch Hazel for Acne and Other Irritations
Clinical studies show that witch hazel is effective as an anti-bacterial and antifungal agent, meaning that its topical application can reduce acne causing bacteria and allow skin to regain healthy bacterial levels. Moreover, it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory agent due to the presence of gallic acid and tannins–applied to inflamed, irritated or broken skin, it can provide relief from itching and redness, and take down irritation. It also brings down swelling through restricting capillaries, meaning that it’s an excellent tonic to dab onto live blemishes overnight.
For those suffering from overactive sebaceous glands, witch hazel is also a must-have remedy for balancing lipid production. Applying a toner that features witch hazel, like our Flower Water Toner, can cut through excess sebum and seal H2O into your pores, for more even toned and non-oily looking skin.
Many have also found success using witch hazel for skin conditions such as eczema, dermatis, and psoriasis, thanks to its itch relieving properties and its drying and astringent qualities. Applied to any sort of open or active skin condition, witch hazel can minimize flaking and dry-up any areas that are weeping or sore. Flavonoids, tannins, and other natural chemicals present in the plant help in tightening and constricting damaged skin, increasing healing time significantly. For these reasons, it’s a fan-favorite natural solution for razor burn – one of the most irritating (and persistent) everyday skin woes.Adding Witch Hazel to Your Routine
The most common use of witch hazel you’ll see is as a toner. Using witch hazel for acne in the form of a toner is extremely beneficial, because its unique properties are ideal for treating oily and acne-prone skin. The plant’s astringency benefits mean it will remove excess sebum, while allowing your pores to retain and absorb more H2O and moisture. This means that combination skin types can benefit from witch hazel toner as well: witch hazel doesn’t zap moisture so much as balance it, cutting down shine in oily areas (T-zone), and allowing for more moisture retention in dryer areas (cheeks, nose, forehead). However, like any astringent product, witch hazel can be drying if it’s over-used, so make sure you’re only applying it in small amounts, and diluting it with a gentle base.DIY Witch Hazel Treatments for Acne
Typically, you can find witch hazel in a premade plant-based formula. You can also DIY it with a few simple ingredients!
To make your own witch hazel toner for acne, mix one part organic witch hazel extract with one part distilled water, and keep in a glass bottle. You can amp up the formula with other clarifying and toning essential oils, like tea tree oil, bergamot, or rosemary (all of which have powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties).
To use, wet a cotton pad and apply to your face and neck after cleansing. This will remove excess oil and calm your skin, but it’s important to follow this step with a hydrant, as your pores will be prepped for maximum absorption of any following products.
You can also find witch hazel incorporated into plant-based toners. Look for a formula that uses a hydrosol base like rose water – hello, Puristry Flower Water Toner! – as witch hazel works best when cut with a soothing humectant that will deliver tiny molecules of oil (rose oil has essential fatty acids and powerful antioxidant properties, meaning that it pairs super nicely with the toning qualities of witch hazel).
The takeaway? If you’re suffering from oily skin, blemishes, combination symptoms, or persistent conditions like eczema, dermatis, and psoriasis, witch hazel is an excellent plant-based add on to beat your symptoms.